Youtube and self-selection bias

I have moved massively to streaming content. TV is dead.

Among the things that works very well for me is the recommendation. So, for example, today, youtube served me an hour long video of a chat between one of my favourite math-type youtuber with a lady I haven’t seen before [Sally Le Page, biologist, science communicator].


About 40 minutes in, they have discussion about gender split for viewers on their channels:

Matt: … I saw how important Numberphile was, it supports young people at school, it supports people who are young professionals. For some people at school, who would get bored of the content they are learning, and would feel isolated, they can be a part of the wider community that works in Mathematics. And young professionals who have left the academic environment, but still want to keep the excitement for their subject,…
Sally: Is that who you are aiming your videos at?
Matt: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It is protonerds and bored nerds. They are my guys.
Sally: And, as for who you are actually reaching?
Matt: My average viewer is Male, American, 25 to 34.
Sally: Basically, what is the gender split?
Matt: Terrible. It’s horrific. I’ve tried, any suggestions, let me know. 96% male.4% female.
Sally: Oh my god, mine is 94%, and I thought I might be the worst..
Matt: 94? Good job.
Sally: Why do you think that is – because it is maths? Everyone I have spoken to said, because I’m female, I get more male audience than man, who get more female audience.
Matt: No. The only time it goes back – better – is when something goes proper viral. There are loads of girls watching youtube videos – because there are massive channels with them as their main demography. So, if something ever breaks out of my own audience, then it sarts to bring the average back – not much – but it starts bringing it back a notch.

I presume this is not a new phenomenon. People watch youtube/TV for entertainment – primarily, and perhaps, Numbertime also had terrible gender split.

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